Prospects of Russian Medicine Development

Scientists of Sechenov University along with Research Institute of Organization and Informatization of health care workers described the actual state of the Russian medicine, its readiness for the introduction and use of digital technologies. Also they proposed steps that will help to competently and efficiently apply the cutting-edge technologies. The research is published in the magazine of World Healthcare Organization (WHO) European office Public Health Panorama.

In 2016 in Russia the priority project “Electronic healthcare” was launched. In the framework of the state program “Development of healthcare” the Federal project “Creation of the unified digital circuit of healthcare on the basis of the unified state health information system (USHIS)”is being implemented since 2018.

Electronic health involves digitization and integration into a single database of a bigger part of the information about the patient and the course of the treatment (the history of applications for medical care, data from portable devices and gadgets), along with electronic document management, quality assessment of medical services, distance education and sale of medicines and equipment, telemedicine. Digital health presupposes all of the measures plus introduction of analytical and mathematical methods of data processing, including for assistance in medical decision-making.

Sechenov University has unique resources for the elaboration and testing of the ideology of digital health development in the Russian Federation, such as Clinical center for 3.5 thousand beds, which provides with all kinds of medical care, Science and Technology Park for Biomedicine, Institute of digital medicine. This emphasizes the status of the University as the main university in the development of the sphere of knowledge,

commented the first author of the research,
Director of the Institute of Digital Medicine of Sechenov University Georgy S. Lebedev.

The authors identified five main areas of digital technologies implementation in medicine: internet navigation of citizens in the healthcare system (assistance in finding the necessary specialists, medical institutions or services), disease prevention and healthy lifestyles, clinical telemedicine, distance education and support for scientific clinical solutions. According to the researchers, they should focus on the organizers in the field of health care, medical equipment manufacturers, IT-specialists, insurance companies, representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and the professional community.

Internet navigation of the citizens is ensured by the program of creation of the Federal information system, which should include medical institutions, insurance companies, pharmacies and sports and recreation centers by 2020. Such a system will allow people to obtain all the necessary information about available medical services, medicines and equipment, prevention programmes and to choose the most relevant for them.

As a successful state project aimed at the prevention of diseases and the spread of a healthy lifestyle, the authors of the article call the portal of the Ministry of Health, which contains popular materials about healthy eating, sports and fighting bad habits. Also in the field there are specialized resources that collect and process data on the health of the population. On the one hand, they allow collecting statistics that will help to distribute resources and choosing priorities in health care, and on the other hand, making recommendations on changes in nutrition or human activity based on the data. The area of digital medicine requires a lot of attention and effort: it is necessary to work out the procedure for data collection and analysis, to create a list of mobile devices that are able to collect data, and to develop software for them, to ensure the protection of personal data and secure ways of communication between the doctor and the patient.

Telemedicine includes technologies allowing remotely monitoring the patient’s condition, maintaining an electronic medical record, conducting consultations and consilia of doctors, buying medicines in online pharmacies, including electronic prescriptions. Russia is actively developing projects that enable doctors from regional hospitals to communicate with leading specialists of the country, to exchange experience, to hold consilia. According to the authors of the study, the work of ambulance crews can be significantly improved if they are equipped with telemedicine equipment. Lately the legislative regulation of telemedicine has also improved, without which the use of such technologies would not have been possible.

Another direction, distance education, is designed to serve both students and teachers and practitioners. In medicine, more than in any other field, long-life learning is necessary. Constant acquisition of the new knowledge, and digital technologies provide convenient formats for such training: online courses, remote lectures by leading scientists, broadcasts of surgical operations, as well as access to electronic libraries and knowledge bases. This also includes educational projects aimed at improving health literacy.

Another area of digital medicine is closely connected with life-long learning – support for scientific clinical solutions. To implement it, it is necessary to provide both researchers and practitioners with access to the cutting-edge results of the research, publications in scientific journals, databases, information on research support programmes and grants, as well as a quick and effective search for them. This will make it easier for doctors to share the information they need to make decisions during diagnosis and treatment.

However, the authors emphasize all of the areas of work will not be able to develop without the necessary infrastructure: financing, training, creation of computer programs, devices and equipment, as well as combining the efforts of experts from different areas of health, IT-industry, equipment manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, patient communities and government agencies.